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Archive for March, 2011

The title is in followup to Doug’s previous post about a waterfall we checked out last weekend in Gwinnett County. The waterfall that you see in this post I visited the previous day from our Gwinnett waterfall visit.

The name of this waterfall is High Shoals Falls and is found in the heart of Paulding County. If you aren’t aware Paulding is the county directly west of Cobb County. The waterfall itself is a 10 minute drive north from downtown Dallas. From Dallas you have about a 30 minute drive to back towards Marietta.

I came across High Shoals while talking on the phone with Doug discussing a new blog he had run across. The blog is about waterfalling around Georgia. While discussing with Doug about some of the falls the blogger had visited I came across another mention of a waterfall north of Dallas and so opened up Google Earth to see if I could find anything about it. As it would happen I found two pics from Panoramio on the waterfall from Google Earth (you would be surprised how many times this happens).

The next Saturday I decided to drive out to Dallas and see if I could find and visit the waterfall. It seemed like a pretty easy find and hike, so I didn’t anticipate any problems.

I arrived at the cemetery mentioned in the directions and where I was supposed to park my car. The area was small, for like maybe 4 or 5 cars. There was a sign showing the park hours (I forget what it said specifically). I grabbed my gear, my dog Sally, and headed down the trail.

The trail was a short 200 or 300 yards down the trail. The area is very unassuming and quiet.  You can hear the waterfall not far after you start down the trail. Once you arrive the waterfall faces you on the trail and makes for a really nice scene. The first picture above is what you see as you arrive.

What is really cool about this waterfall is that it is so out of the way, and so unknown, that chances are you will have the place to yourself. The flow of the creek and shape of the contours of the land are seemingly perfect for shots from either side of the creek that flows down from the waterfall. The rock face that the falls tumble over create a small amphitheater and climbing to the top of the falls from either side is relatively easy. The falls spill into a fairly shallow splash pool and give way to some small cascades just beyond the pool. Overall all I have to say this might be the most accessible waterfall I’ve ever been to. The only unfortunate thing about it I would say is that beyond this place there isn’t really anything else, waterfall related, beyond a good 30 to 45 minute drive.

Technically speaking I had to do some filter stacking with the sun conditions. It was basically late morning (noon-ish) so the sun was nice and high in the sky. My 8x ND filter and polarizer worked out well. I shot multiple exposures and processed with exposure blending to get the results you see here. The panoramic below was from 5 frames, taken from left to right, with 3 exposures each. It is simply amazing how good Photoshop has gotten now with merging for panoramics. My suggestion would be to hit this waterfall later in the day or early morning. If you live in the Atlanta area I would certainly recommend checking out this waterfall…. it is worth the out of the way trip.

Don’t forget you can find the location of this waterfall and many others throughout the Eastern US via our waterfall database.

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Water Levels Update: typical spring levels currently, depending on recent rain.
Spring Color Update: still not much to speak of above the Piedmont (and barely any there).

There were two water towers that were seen along Interstate 85 in Gwinnett County in the Atlanta metro area–which I often passed going to north Georgia for waterfalls. One of the towers said “Gwinnett is Great,” and is the reason for the title here (the towers were taken down last year). Scott & I decided to take advantage of perfect early spring weather, and visit some waterfalls we learned about in another blog I found recently from someone else who is visiting local waterfalls. Based on her description, we decided to check it out, especially since they weren’t far away.

Freeman’s Mill Park is a relatively new Gwinnett County Park the primary goal of which is to preserve a historic grist mill. Freeman's Mill Dam FallsThe mill looks nice, though it isn’t yet restored inside; however, we were interested in the waterfall nearby. There was a man-made fall created by overflow from the former dam for the mill. Though I tend to prefer natural falls to man-made, it was a nice setting, looking appealing even with full sun on the scene (usually not great for waterfall photos), and filters allowed me to get a long-exposure shot that I was pleased with.

Alcovy Lower FallsBoth of us had seen a few posts about the area, and knew there was another waterfall there, which we saw across the creek. We got across to it, and checked it out. I would be careful about this, since I don’t know about access to this, though there were no posted signs around telling of it being private. There we came across another waterfall, almost 20 ft tall, a nice sloping natural fall. Again sun made it difficult waterfall photography conditions, but I think Scott was pleased with this shot. I think this setting in spring greenery–and on a day with even lighting–could be really beautiful for waterfall photography. We looked around the area, and Scott had heard there was an upper waterfall, so we continued up beside the fall to explore further.

Sure enough, we came across the upper fall after a few hundred feet of mostly walking along the creekbed (once above the lower fall). Alcovy Upper Falls This fall was really impressive, and more dramatic than we expected it to be, being more than 30 ft series of steps. It also had really beautiful rock colors. However, the sun really did a number on any photo that was taken of it, providing way too much contrast. Again, I think that with spring greenery, flow, and even lighting, this could produce a really amazing waterfall shot. We’ll just have to come back later in the spring to try…

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(though it’s early in the season, I thought I’d start adding spring season updates)
Water Level Update: lots of water currently on falls in north Georgia
Spring Greenery Update: no greenery (not surprisingly) in north Georgia yet.

There was a lot of rain over this weekend, and actually in NE Georgia there was a flash flood warning on Sunday. I’ve been wanting to go waterfalling, so I thought it would be perfect chance to visit some normally low-flow (and easily accessible) waterfalls with lots of water on them. I convinced fellow waterfaller Scott to join along, and we went to Rabun County (Georgia’s home to the most waterfalls) to explore. (disclaimer: you have to be careful waterfalling when creeks are at flood stage, and make sure you know what you’re doing. We chose carefully what falls we visited to not get in trouble with mother nature.)

Our first stop was Ada-Hi Falls (sorta) in Black Rock Mountain State Park, to visit the highest altitude waterfall in Georgia (well over 3000 ft elevation). It is a very small drainage, so it is often only a trickle (as it was last time I tried visiting it 3 1/2 years ago, as you can see on the right–though that was autumn, so it should be expected). For that reason, I hadn’t gone back for these years–but I figured flood stage today was the perfect time to visit it. As I mentioned, it’s in Black Rock Mountain State Park, and is a very steep but short <1/2 mile trail to the fall from nearby the campground general store. The trail was a little slick but not difficult, and has Ada-Hi Falls stairs for the very steep sections.

Wonderfully, today there was a lot of water going over the falls, and it looked really beautiful, as you can see (it even had some light fog around). Because of steep terrain around, there is a viewing platform, which significantly limits your photography composition possibilities, but it was still great to photograph it. So if you’re waterfalling nearby and there has been a lot of rain recently, I’d recommend it–otherwise, I’d skip it and visit other waterfalls, since it is admittingly very rare that it looks this beautiful, and there are a lot of wonderful waterfalls in Rabun County. Both of us also really liked the rock texture the water poured over (see below).
Ada-Hi Close-Up
The next stop was in Warwoman Dell, where I visited in a previous post. As I mentioned in that post, there is a small waterfall in the Dell itself, but because it was only a dribble, I didn’t photograph it that time. So again, I thought that with very high water levels, it was perfect time to capture that waterfall. We stopped by the Dell, Warwoman Dell Falls and climbed up 44 old (and mossy) stone steps. There, we came to a previously planned railroad bed; here is some history of the Dell, including about the proposed railroad. The top stone steps actually had water pouring down them, and at the top we were treated to this small but pretty waterfall (and a flooded trail). The photo here shows the waterfall with the railroad bed on the left. The sun now appeared from behind clouds, and it limited what we could do photographically with this waterfall.

Since the sun was now out, it put a damper on our waterfall photography for the rest of the day. We did explore some, finding some waterfalls we hadn’t found (or seen photos of) before–one of which we knew had to be there, though it was good to actually find it. …but that’s for another day, once we’ve explored them more fully. For me, it was great to spend time waterfalling for the first time in months, getting ready for the upcoming waterfall season!

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